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Rapid reconfigurable production process chains (Made in Europe Partnership) (IA)

In times of disrupted supply chains or rapidly changing customer demands, production lines will need to be built flexible enough to be able to handle these variations. Rapid reconfiguration technologies of more flexible systems, will enable industries with many production process steps to maintain a resilience against sudden changes in ordering and/or supplies.

The projects should address reconfiguration of production systems in which the lines are running at medium or high volume manufacturing rates (MVM and HVM respectively), and include a variety of production steps, such as cleaning, forming, thermal treatments, cutting, joining, surface treatments, painting, printing, assembly, etc. It should also consider complex logistics and non-manufacturing operations enabling the production runs. Projects should provide strategies for awareness and early detection of reconfiguration needs, e.g. by using A.I. and data technologies, to enhance their resilience towards threatening events or crisis situations.

The reconfiguration should be ambitious to the extent that the change addresses a new customer base or new societal needs, or drastically changes the original production processes and/or supply chain with minimal reconfiguration costs.

Projects should also include protocols for best practices of the reconfiguration that can be applicable also outside the sectors active in the project, which would include taking into account any sector specific qualification requirements (such as clean room levels or certifications for sectors such as medical and food). These protocols as well as the projects should have a human-centred perspective, including skills requirements and training adapted to different education levels and needs.

Proposals submitted under this topic should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the introduction to this Destination.

Research must build on existing standards or contribute to standardisation. Interoperability for data sharing should be addressed. Additionally, a strategy for skills development should be presented, associating social partners when relevant.

All projects should build on or seek collaboration with existing projects and develop synergies with other relevant European, national or regional initiatives, funding programmes and platforms.

In order to achieve the expected outcomes, International Cooperation is encouraged, in particular with Japan, South Korea or Canada.

This topic implements the co-programmed European Partnership Made in Europe.